Denise Goldberg's blog

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

a splash of pink

After yesterday's blizzard I need a splash of color! This greenhouse-bound bougainvillea in bright pink fills that need (for now).

a splash of pink

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

snow!

There's a lot of snow outside!

I headed out for a short walk in the middle of the afternoon, wandering through the college campus next door. The snow was falling, the wind was howling, and brr! It's cold out there!

I want to share our blizzard with you.

introducing January's blizzard, Juno

looking out

It's morning and the blizzard continues...

According to the National Weather Service our current condition is freezing fog. The blizzard warning remains in effect until 1 AM on Wednesday with this forecast summary:

Snow with areas of blowing snow. Areas of fog between 1pm and 4pm. Areas of freezing fog before 1pm, then Patchy freezing fog after 4pm. High near 16. Wind chill values as low as -8. Windy, with a north wind 26 to 28 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. Total daytime snow accumulation of 10 to 14 inches possible.

Courtesy of the National Weather Service Boston Office

When I opened my front door this morning I saw snow, drifted, blocking the walk.

snow in front of my front door
blocked by snow

Monday, January 26, 2015

what's in a word?

One of the links on the National Weather Service (NWS) Forecast Office page for Boston is a link to an hourly weather forecast graph. Here's the SNOW portion of the graph for the upcoming blizzard:

snow graph

From 5 PM today through 11 PM tomorrow the graph shows OCNL for snowfall.

OCNL? What does that mean?

Gridpoint Forecast Help on the NWS Caribou, Maine page showed me the English translation of the abbreviations:

AbbreviationMeaning
OCNLoccasional
LIKLYlikely
CHCchance
SCHCslight chance
no chance

Hmm... the top entry in the graph seems like it should be the represent the largest chance of snow. Occasional? Just below the table on the forecast help page I found an explanation:

* Please note that Ocnl (occasional) represents definite snowfall; however, the snowfall may not be continuous but may stop and start at times.

When I looked up the word occasional in a dictionary I found the definition "occurring, appearing, or done infrequently and irregularly" That seems like the opposite of occasional in the context of this gridpoint forecast, doesn't it?

The wording on the blizzard warning seems (to me) to say the opposite:

A BLIZZARD WARNING IS ISSUED WHEN SUSTAINED WINDS OR FREQUENT GUSTS OVER 35 MPH ARE EXPECTED WITH CONSIDERABLE FALLING AND/OR BLOWING AND DRIFTING SNOW.

I would love to know the origin of the use of the word occasional in this context.

footprints

Arriving at the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge about an hour after low tide I found a line of snowy footprints in the sand, soon to disappear.

snowy footprints

Sunday, January 25, 2015

to Parker River

This morning I was able to feed my desire for a walk on the beach. Low tide was at 9:10 AM; my initial instinct was to drive early to be at the coast an hour before the tide changed directions. After I checked the weather forecast last night and saw that there was a chance of black ice this morning I thought it might be smart to wait a little longer this morning. Instead of leaving the house at an early hour for a weekend day I waited until just after 9.

When I arrived at the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge the sky was bright blue with scattered white clouds. As I stood at the Hellcat Wildlife Observation Area chatting with another visitor I watched as the sky to the north changed in an instant to dark gray. It was quite windy and a bit nippy.

I hopped back into my car to drive back up the road to one of the boardwalks to the beach. Just as I grabbed my camera and started to walk the conditions changed - I was pelted with sleet! I kept walking on the snow-covered boardwalk, heading to the beach.

The sleet eventually stopped leaving a magic sky. Looking north there was blue sky and white clouds. Looking south there was a fair amount of gray. In both directions there was beauty.

looking south, clouds in white and gray
looking to the south

looking north, blue sky with clouds
looking to the north

More photos from today's visit can be seen in the gallery Parker River and... 2015.

from watch to warning

I guess we really are going to get a blizzard.

I just checked the forecast on the National Weather Service site; the blizzard watch was upgraded to a blizzard warning at 3:58 PM. Along with the "it's really coming" message, the projected snowfall totals have been increased. The total is now showing as 24 to 36 inches in the area of Massachusetts that I call home. Double yikes!

forecasted snowfall totals for 2015/01/27

uh oh! blizzard watch

As the snow ended yesterday I saw rumblings of an impending storm for Tuesday. My main source of weather forecasts is the Boston office of the National Weather Service but I also follow David Epstein.

The forecast late yesterday showed uncertainty. This morning that changed with a blizzard watch for eastern coastal Massachusetts:

"...A MAJOR WINTER STORM WILL IMPACT THE REGION MONDAY NIGHT THROUGH TUESDAY NIGHT WITH 1 TO 2 FEET OF SNOW AND BLIZZARD CONDITIONS POSSIBLE..."

One to two feet of snow? Yikes!

National Weather Service BOSTON forecast map

I've been visiting the new (and experimental) Winter Weather Page on the Boston National Weather Service page. When there is an impending storm there is an interactive maps that show the percentage probability of different depths of snow. Right now it shows a 100% probability that there will be more than 8 inches of snow, a 69% probability of more that 12 inches, and a 51% probability for more than 18 inches.

snow depth probabilities

It look like Tuesday will be a work from home day. I'm so glad to have the ability to work wherever I have my computer and an Internet connection.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

a snowy walk

Snow was falling steadily this morning. When I headed out the National Weather Service website informed me that the current weather was snow and freezing fog. The temperature hovered around the freezing mark making it quite easy to dress for warmth.

I walked in places where the snow hadn't been cleared, along roads that had been plowed, and back to untouched snow again. My snowy walk was a good walk.

falling snow

Curious about the white blotches you see on the photo? Those are big chunky snowflakes!

purple

Here's a splash of purple from last spring to decorate this very snowy day.

tulip in purple